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Census shows changing face of religion over past decade

By Herald Express  |  Posted: January 10, 2013

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THE number of Christians in Torbay has fallen at the same time as a sharp rise in the proportion classifying themselves as having 'no religion'.

The changing face of religion over the past decade was detailed in the latest batch of figures to be released from the 2011 Census.

Out of a population of 130,959, people in Torbay described themselves as the following:

Christian 82,924

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No religion 35,535

Religion not stated 10,110

Muslim 521

Jedi Knight 500

Buddhist 389

Spiritualist 246

Pagan 177

Hindu 128

Jewish 109

Mixed religion 70

Sikh 41

Wicca 40

Spiritual 36

Taoist 11

Rastafarian nine

Pantheism seven

Own belief system six

Universalist six

Baha'i five

Satanism five

New Age four

Witchcraft four

Deist three

Heathen three

Scientology three

Native American Church two

In line with the wider national trend, the number of people declaring themselves Christian — including Church of England, Catholic and all other Christian denominations — was 63.3 per per cent in Torbay and 61.5 per cent in Devon.

This compares to 59.8 per cent in Cornwall and 58.1 per cent in Plymouth.

But the figures were higher 10 years earlier.

The share of the Torbay population stating they were Christian in 2001 was 76.2 per cent, meaning the 2011 figure is down 12.9 per cent points.

Devon was 74.8 per cent, a fall of 13.3 per cent points. Cornwall and Plymouth saw dips of 14.5 and 15.4 respectively. At the same time, the number of people declaring they had 'no religion' was up 12.6 per centpoints in Torbay.

The figures on religion were seized upon by secular campaigners who had urged people to tick the 'no religion' box when they filled out the census.

Andrew Copson, chief executive of the British Humanist Association, said: "This is a really significant cultural shift.

"In spite of a biased question that positively encourages religious responses, to see such an increase in the non-religious and such a decrease in those reporting themselves as Christian is astounding."

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  • DocTorre  |  January 11 2013, 4:52AM

    Over 1,000 people each year in Torbay are deciding not to call themselves Christians. That's a decline of around 1% of people in Torbay each year. Even now the majority of our three town's Christians are over the age of 65. At this current rate of decline, Christianity will effectively just become one of many small competing faiths in the Bay within a few generations...

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